Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says that the focus of his side must be on their own performances between now and the end of the campaign.
The Seagulls host Newcastle United this afternoon looking to pull further clear of the Premier League’s bottom three, and the boss emphasised the importance of making their own fortunes their sole focus.
He said, “The important thing in my position is to take any criticism that comes – pundits on the television are asked questions and they give their answers – it doesn’t mean it’s right, it’s an opinion.
“If you listened too much then you almost wouldn’t be playing – we are a team that are going to have tough spells in this league and we’re below teams who have spent far more than us and who have bigger squads and experience.
“We have to work the way we can – if we’re having a tough time then the important thing is that we’re focused as a group and all pulling in the right direction, any outside comments from pundits or so are things we can’t affect – that’s what they’re paid to do, but it doesn’t mean they’re right.”
The game against Rafael Benitez’s men this afternoon is the team’s penultimate on home soil this term – with a trip to Arsenal to follow next weekend before Manchester City visit the Amex on the final day of the season.
“We have three games left and we know anything is possible – we were close to getting a result on Tuesday at Tottenham, so we’ve shown we can compete against the big sides,” the manager continued.
“We have to think we can get a result in any game – but I understand why people look at this fixture this weekend and put extra importance on it.
“This is our biggest game because it’s the next one and we have a chance to get some points, but I do recognise why people are thinking about this game in the way that they are.”
Last season Albion secured their top-flight status in the third to last game of the campaign at home to Manchester United at the Amex – although the same feat can’t be mathematically repeated on this occasion, the manager still talked about the parallels and good memories that could be drawn from the famous evening.
“I haven’t mentioned the game with Manchester United last year to the players, but maybe I will.
“There’s been a quick turnaround this week, but that night was a wonderful occasion, it will be closer now because we’ll still be going into the second to last game, but you have to draw on every good experience.
“The team showed how much it meant that night and showed real desire to win the game – we’ll have to have that same approach on Saturday afternoon.”